Some of the cuts and scratches had healed, but the bruises still mocked me every time I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I contemplated covering them with makeup, but I thought it was much more appropriate for the world to see what Taylor did to me. What showed on the outside couldn't compare to my insides, but at least it was a start.
Nobody asked me what happened to me or if I was okay. It was fine. I didn't think anybody cared anyway. Of course, my first day back, I was called into the principal’s office because I'd missed too many days without notifying the school. I made a mental note to thank him rather loudly at a later date.
I walked into Principal Johnson’s office and could feel the deep, dark stare of Vice Principal Powers judging me all the way to my seat.
“I thought we came to an understanding last week, Miss Cohen,” she said.
“Yes, ma’am, we did.”
“It appears as though your truancy makes it evident you understood nothing,” she said.
Principal Johnson flipped through the dictionary that was sitting on her desk. “Truancy. Noun. The action of staying away from school without good reason,” he said. And then, louder, “Truancy.”
His deep voice startled me, and I nearly jumped out of my skin. “Yes, sir. I understand what it means to be truant. I did, however, have a good reason to be absent.”
“This should be entertaining,” Vice Principal Powers said.
“Friday afternoon after detention I was attacked in the south parking lot, and I’ve spent the past few days recovering. I’m sorry I didn’t ...”
“Is that so?” she interrupted me, as if I needed a reminder that she didn’t give a damn about what had happened to me.
“Yes, ma’am.” I took off my jacket to show both of them the bruises that still covered my body. “My entire body is covered with them.”
“I assume you went to the police with this information?” Echoes of her own perceived superiority bounced off the walls of her small office.
What had they been willing to believe? That I beat myself up? “No, I did not. I was too scared to go the police.” I hurried to put my jacket back on as they looked away from the damage Taylor had done.
“Why should we believe you?” Principal Johnson asked.
I stood up and raised my voice for the next part. “My body is covered in bruises.” I looked from the principal to the vice principal, but neither of them showed any concern.
“Well, I'm afraid without any names to corroborate your story, I'm inclined to consider this a tall tale,” he said, finally breaking the silence. “And if you don’t change your tone, young lady, you’ll live to regret it.” He raised his hand to motion me to sit down.
“Are you kidding me?”
“We are dead serious,” Vice Principal Powers said.
“Well, I guess I must have beat myself up, then.” I could feel the tears trying to pour from my eyes, but I refused to let them get the best of me.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish